Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alice O'Connor)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Spec Ops: The Line [official site] is a pretty fun third-person cover shooter about shooting people in their faces, then sometimes feeling a bit bad or confused about killing them. I think BioShock made folks a bit excited about shooting games where shooting people was sometimes a bad thing, so reactions to Spec Ops were over-enthusiastic, but it’s still pretty decent as face-shooters go. Its sandstorm-swept Dubai is a heck of a sight too.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Hinkle2K

"Each Andromedon sits inside of an advanced Battlesuit, which our scientists believe helps them survive Earth’s atmosphere. The Battlesuit provides tactical benefits to the Andromedon: it can tear down most walls with ease and devastate XCOM soldiers with powerful melee strikes."

More info here ➜
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

One day I’ll write a Desert Island Discs about the games I’d keep with me until the end of days, given a choice of ten. It’ll no doubt be a Desert Island Digital Downloads given the absence of physical media in my life. I live with the ghosts of entertainment.

Rather than compiling the list of games I’d take to the Vault with me though, today I’m aiming to put together a collection, one from each genre, that I’d use to introduce those genres to a PC gaming newcomer, or a lapsed gamer. A friend inspired this particular bundle of joy, someone who grew up with an Amiga but developed other interests and hasn’t touched a game for more than a few minutes at a time, either console or PC, for over fifteen years. A recent illness has left him unable to engage in his usual outdoor hobbies and games have filled the gap.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alec Meer)

Oh, Civilization: Beyond Earth [official site], how sad you make me. You work so very hard to make me love you but… well, maybe you’re fundamentally unlovable. The Rising Tide expansion, that was a good try. You became more alien, less like your dad trying to wear a spacesuit, but gosh, you made a pig’s ear of Diplomacy, didn’t you? Bugs and bonkers design decisions queered the pitch.

But maybe it’s not too late. I hear there’s a big new patch intended to address one of your biggest problems; what flowers are you bringing to my door this time?

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Hinkle2K

We've revealed more info on Dark Events, ADVENT counter-operations in XCOM 2. You can read about them here:

Be sure to bookmark for tons of great info, including mechanics, features, enemy units, soldier classes and even cosplay guides.
Community Announcements - GBX_Jwhite

October 29, 2015

Version 1.7.0 Update


  • Various balance refinements and tweaks, with special attention given to Maya to make her more in-line with the other characters.
  • The Fastball grenade has been added to Boll’s loot pool.
  • DLC offers from Steam have been added to the in-game DLC menu.
  • Players will no longer encounter a progression blocker in the mission “A Match Made on Pandora” at the objective “Talk to Moxxi” in the Wedding Day Massacre DLC.
  • The mission “Cleaning Up the Berg” will now adjust to the current OP level instead of always being level 72.
  • The wedding party should now always appear at the appropriate time during the mission “A Match Made in Pandora”.
  • Missions that can be failed and re-attempted will now show the correct level when the player re-accepts the mission.
  • Chests that are dug up by varkids in the Wam Bam Island mission “Fun, Sun, and Guns” will now appear for all co-op players when unopened.
  • Gun-based splash damage will now scale correctly.
  • The Aquamarine sniper rifle has been updated with the proper stats. It was previously incorrectly categorized as an SMG. Players with this weapon in their inventory at the time of the update will have an SMG in its place. Future drops of the Aquamarine sniper will be correct.
  • Player locations will now display correctly after being revived.
  • French, Italian, German, and Spanish language versions of the game will now properly display Critical Hit FX.
  • Jack’s protective probe will now take damage from Maya’s Phaselock ability.
  • Kill Skills will now properly receive bonuses modified by external sources (i.e. class mods) upon activation.
  • Weapon abilities will no longer be retained when using the inventory to swap weapons during the weapon-swap animation.
  • The color red will now appear appropriately for players using the “Protanopia” color-blind mode.
  • Players now have the option to choose a “Camera-Based” driving control setting.
  • Badass stats will no longer display multiples of the same choice when selecting a Badass Rank stat bonus.
  • Tweaks to improve performance while navigating menu screens.
  • The game will no longer become indefinitely paused if the status menu is opened when the HUD is not displayed.
  • Updated the presentation of the SHiFT EULA (End User License Agreement).
  • Fixed an exploit to duplicate SHiFT rewards while playing in split-screen.
  • Players at OP level 4 or above should now find it easier to find a game via matchmaking.
  • Players will no longer see placeholder graphics when joining into a 3 or 4 player game on certain maps.
  • Bloody Harvest Halloween candy item card text will now display correctly when colorblind mode is active.
  • When a user switches weapons just before using a travel station, their holstered weapon will no longer appear to have a plain white texture if viewed from third-person
  • Players can now sort their inventory by value and vending machine inventory by price.
  • A rare issue where an object could appear to have a bright, neon-colored texture will no longer occur.
  • “Use” prompts will now appear and disappear more quickly, resulting in a more responsive gameplay experience.
  • Unowned DLC will no longer appear in the Fast Travel menu as a valid destination.
  • Various stability improvements.
  • Memory adjustments have been made to prevent audio dropout in some cases.
  • When playing with the language set to Spanish, the text for the “trade” option has been corrected.
  • Minor text fixes.
  • Green quality corrosive and explosive nova shields can now spawn in-game.
  • McNally will now be the appropriate level in the mission “The Bane”.
  • Drop rates for the Cobra have been increased in Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage.
  • Players will no longer be permanently slowed by the sorcerer’s “slow” skill.
  • NPCs will no longer become invisible for clients during play sessions with many map transitions.
  • Community Day 2013 head and skin customizations will no longer disappear from the player’s inventory if they save and quit before using them.
  • Torgue weapons will now glow correctly
  • Some skin customizations that previously did not drop from any source can now drop in-game.
  • All items will now have impact audio when dropped from inventory or in the world.
  • Game difficulty scaling will now reliably return to the appropriate value after fighting Raid Bosses.
  • Purple rarity rocket launchers will now use the appropriate material.
  • Subtitles in the side missions “My Dead Brother” and “Lost Souls” updated for accuracy
  • Brood the Invincible’s nameplate will now appear correctly.

Permanent Hot-Fixes

  • Permanent Hot-Fix to add Community Day heads and skins as world drops.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue in which the Tiny Tina’s damsels can become invisible.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix "Release the Beast" sometimes not activating.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue with critical hits not registering properly sometimes when using the “Interspersed Outburst” Mechromancer skill.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an inaccurate skill description for the Mechromancer’s “Buck Up” skill so that it properly displays the recharge as 100%.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix Wilhelm so that he takes damage from the Ahab rocket launcher.
  • Permanent Hot-Fixto adjust camera zoom when Krieg is in the gunner seat of the runner.
  • Permanent Hot-Fixes to fix incorrect attribute presentations for relics.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue in which skrakks can deform when running PhysX.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue so that Deathmark can be applied more than once in a multiplayer game.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue in which Zero's deception ability will not activate properly when triggering the skill while firing and reloading a Tediore SMG.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix a missing VO in ‘A Match Made on Pandora’.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to fix an issue with some weapons having low DoTs applied.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to modify Vermivorous so that he always drops something from his unique pool.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to increase the bulk collect radius.
  • Permanent Hot-Fix to increase the drop rate of legendary items across the game.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alec Meer)

Just a PSA, as we already mentioned this a few weeks before it happened: Chaos Reborn [official site], the successfully Kickstarted remake of/sequel to classic Spectrum wizard-bothering strategy/bluffing game Chaos, has left Early Access and gotten a full Steam release. Much as I can’t help but include “OMG made by the guy who invented X-COM” excitements in any coverage, I really should stress that Chaos Reborn is a clever and tense game of magical battles in its own right.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The best moments in XCOM: Enemy Unknown happen on the ground, at the squad level. It s where you hope all your base building, troop training, and bizarre government research will pay off. With soldiers hunkered down behind a broken piece of debris or scanning for alien activity from a rooftop, you have to hope the team you ve assembled is made of the right stuff. Or they ll soon be the dead stuff.

But being prepared in XCOM will only get you halfway. As Evan noted in his 2012 review, the turn-based strategy game has a way of vaporizing your best-laid plans and best-trained soldiers. And this core appeal—the constantly-evolving tension between planning and execution—is what has always drawn me back.

With an XCOM sequel just over the horizon, I m focusing this edition of If you like… on the serious and satirical side of close-quarter, squad-based combat and the government agencies that try to help win the war from a different kind of battlefield. Among the two films and an underappreciated TV series you ll find there s a lot of XCOM s underdog spirit to go around. I m also including, unusually

Three Kings, directed by David O. Russell 

A rare movie that deals with the first Gulf War, Three Kings is memorable for its gritty, in-the-sand depiction of a relatively short conflict that most people remember from cable television. While the film deals with the very last days of the 1991 war, it weaves its strange story through the lives of multiple stakeholders—ordinary soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and ambitious news media personalities.

Three Kings is on one level a humorous heist movie about a group of American military men who want to take a little something back for themselves. But it also makes an argument for the way the unpredictable nature of war can change those who see it up close. As well-trained (or not so well-trained) as the movie s soldiers are, the randomness of the conflict they re caught in can t help but change them. It s up to them to decide who ll they will be if they make it home.

Area 51: The Graphic History of America's Most Secret Military Installation

Area 51

Written by Dwight Zimmerman, illustrated by Greg Scott

From the development of the SR-71 Blackbird to killer satellites shooting tungsten bolts from outer space, this story of the notorious Area 51 research base is filled with fascinating insights. While it s long, Cold War narrative saw it often associated with alien visitors and conspiracy theorists, Zimmerman and Scott s presentation makes a strong case for Area 51 as the unsung hero of late 20th-century defense research. Just because no one wanted to acknowledge its existence doesn t mean its labs weren t turning out some brilliant, game-changing designs.

The spectre at play in this graphic-novel treatment of Cold War history is, of course, the Soviet Union and the USA s post-Cold War enemies. The book doesn t attempt to take an authentic political stance on these events, which is refreshing. Instead it offers a clear look into the development of the technologies that scientists, and the politicians who funded them, felt might turn the tide of war in favor of the United States. It s a history told from a particular point of view, but one that s both informative and entertaining in its style and attitude. In its own way Area 51 tells the story of an XCOM many of us lived through but didn t even know it. 


Now two episodes into its second season, Manhattan s take on the development of the world s first atomic weapons at Los Alamos is a compelling watch. Although it s clear throughout that we re not watching a purely historical look at the top-secret Manhattan Project, the show s commitment to recreating the claustrophobic atmosphere of the period is well-executed and thrilling. Like the bases you dig into the ground in XCOM, we see how scientists, soldiers, and bureaucrats converge to try and win a war using untested technology against a seemingly unbeatable enemy.

The show s first season deals mostly with the struggles of physicist Frank Winter as he tries to perfect his bomb design with an understaffed and undervalued team considered second-rate on the classified Los Alamos base. A rival scientist leads the much larger and better-funded team developing what the US military hopes will be an atomic bomb it can drop on Germany to end the war. The tension between these scientists, and the way politics often interferes with scientific reality, creates a fascinating story arc demonstrating the effect of total war on the homefront.

Restrepo, directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

Directed by the late, great photojournalist Tim Hetherington and Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger, Restrepo documents a year in the life of 2nd Platoon, Battle Company during its deployment in the Korengal Valley of northeast Afghanistan. While there are moments of levity and humor to be found in the soldiers daily lives, the documentary film s release in 2010 was notable for its transparent look at the successes and failure of the American mission in Afghanistan.

Hetherington and Junger embedded themselves in the military unit for 15 months as they filmed and gathered footage that is often breathtaking and sometimes disturbing in its honesty. If war is hell, then we also have to say it s also a place where ordinary people—civilian and military grunt alike—still find ways to live and survive. This film is worthy testament to that reality. 

Patrick currently works as web editor for Hinterland Studios, which is making The Long Dark. For more installments of If you like... , check out the other games he's covered in this series below: 

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Daniel Starkey)


We all have different ways of dealing with loss. Some of us lash out and hurt others while some of us turn inwards and dwell on that pain. The Mammoth: A Cave Painting [official site] is a free game about loss and how we choose to overcome it.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alec Meer)

I’ve started to feel a degree of sadness when games leave early access and embrace a full release. It’s like watching your kids get older and go to college – there’s that point where, one day, their growing up is done. You know who they’re going to be. There’s pride, sure, but all the what-ifs are over and done with. Julian Gollop’s turn-based wizard-battler Chaos Reborn [official site] (currently on Steam Early Access), for instance, is no longer a great unknown – the X-COM co-creator’s latest (and first independent) game will be released on Steam at the end of the month. It’s not that its journey is over, but the guessing and hoping stage is. That great question which has floated around PC parts for years – what would it be like if Julian Gollop made a new game? – is answered. … [visit site to read more]


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